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NYC Correction waited nearly a month to charge two inmates who groped a correction officer at the Horizon teen jail
By: JANON FISHER January 18, 19. 14:51

A pair of pervy inmates who groped a correction officer at the troubled Horizon teen jail on Christmas Eve were finally charged on Thursday — after almost a month of sustained pressure from her union, its president said.

The two teens grabbed an officer’s butt at the Bronx juvenile facility at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 24, authorities said. The Correction Officers Benevolent Association identified them as Alfonso Martinez, 17, and Nicholas Feliciano, 17.

“Our officers must feel safe in our facilities,” Department of Correction Deputy Commissioner of Public Information Peter Thorne said. “The youth responsible were arrested and charged. Safety is our number one priority, and we will work with the Bronx D.A. to make sure they are prosecuted to the fullest.”

But he denied any delay in arrests.

“This was thoroughly investigated by the department and by the Bronx DA’s office and the arrest occurred within the standard amount of time,” Thorne. He would not confirm the names of the youths because they are considered juveniles.

Regardless of the delay, Correction Officers Benevolent Association president Elias Husamudeen sees it a successful result of the union campaign to protect its members.

“I’ve been fighting hard to force the city to rearrest the inmates in Horizon no matter what their ages,” he said. “We’ve been raising hell about this.”

He rejected the argument that youthful offenders should only be tried in family court or held in less institutionally rigid environments like Horizon.

“You can’t have it both ways,” he said. “If you feel that way, then why lock them up at all. Leave them in the neighborhoods, leave them in the communities. That way correction officers won’t be susceptible to their violence.”

One of the handsy teens, Martinez, was housed in the facility after Queens prosecutors charge that he went on a one-man crime spree in his Corona neighborhood in October, robbing and assaulting five people — mostly women — at knifepoint.

“The young defendant’s violence escalated with each robbery — from stabbing and slashing to pummeling a woman in the face to the point that her front tooth was broken,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said at the time of his arrest. “This kind of violence and out-right thievery will not be tolerated. The defendant is in custody and now faces along-term of incarceration for these alleged acts.”

Despite his serious crime, he was confined at Horizon, where incarcerated teens were transferred after the Raise the Age law was passed to house teen inmates away from Rikers Island.

The two teens were finally charged Thursday with forcible touching, harassment and obstruction of government administration, the DOC said.

Meanwhile, the officer received therapy through the department and is recovering.

“She’s doing OK, but I know she’s going to be doing much better now that she knows that they’ll be held responsible for their actions,” Husamudeen.

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